Does anyone know the processes used by Nakashima, Maloof, etc. for achieving a natural hand-rubbed finish? I'm currently using Tried & True but wondering if there is a standard process.
From contributor R:
Those finishes are nothing but some varnish mixed with some thinners, to which a little BLO (or Watco) is added. No real secrets or magical potions involved, just an understanding of how a few chemicals interact with each other. My guess is The Tried and True coating has the same ingredients as the Maloof or the Formby or the Nakashima or the stuff Fester of The Adams Family mixed up on episode #13.
The oil rubbing type finishes look beautiful when done properly, but they do take time and patience. Have you considered trying a tung oil finish? Some of them are just thinned down tung oil, but you can find uncut tung oil by searching for it on Google.
I have some walnut stools in my house, one finished in tung oil and one in Tried and True Varnish. I really like the varnished one because of the linseed oil base which ambers nicely over walnut. The varnish has rosin in it, which some say will do weird things over long times. I guess in 100 years, the finish can get an alligator like texture, but I have no information about how accurate that really is. A five year old stool looks better every year so far.
Some also say that tung is dangerous for peanut allergies, but I kinda wonder if this is an issue once the oil is dried.